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Condemnation, sympathy after man helps wife kill herself - Los Angeles Times

“Are you sure you want to die?”

Ángel Hernández stared at his wife through clear glasses. His face was pallid, haggard, his lip quivering.

María José Carrasco, 61, and eight years his junior, drooped in a squeaky red armchair. Her body was limp, her face sunken, and her mouth sagged into a scowl. But Carrasco wasn’t angry; she was nervous, uneasy even. Uneasy and in pain. She had endured Multiple Sclerosis for 30 years, and it was ravaging her body.

“Would you like it if we do it tomorrow?” Hernández said, glancing into the camera recording it all.

“Yes.”

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Researchers develop novel method to diagnose and monitor autoimmune disorders

Researchers develop novel method to diagnose and monitor autoimmune disorders

Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc.May 19 2020

Researchers from Prokhorov General Physics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology have developed a novel method for diagnosing and monitoring autoimmune disorders. Within a mere 25 minutes, their new biosensor not only measures the concentration of autoantibodies in human blood serum with extremely high sensitivity, but also -- for the first time -- quantifies their activity. The combination of these parameters permits the elaboration of new diagnostic criteria for autoimmune diseases, as well as new approaches to their treatment. The paper was published in Biosensors and Bioelectronics, the highest-ranking scientific journal in the field of biosensing technology and analytical chemistry.

Autoantibodies produced by the immune system misinterpret the organism's cells and organs as targets, causing autoimmune disorders. The autoantibodies are associated with more than 80 serious autoimmune diseases ranging from rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus to Multiple Sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes. Many of them require lifelong care and treatment to alleviate suffering. Autoantibodies are present in the blood of about 10% of the population. Due to a high prevalence of autoimmune disorders, the economic impact is enormous and is estimated for some countries as twice that of cancer. Autoantibodies appear in blood long before clinical onset, and their characteristics can be used to foresee disease activity and severity.

Currently, the treatment of autoimmune diseases is substantially complicated due to dramatic variations in the results of commercial tests by different manufacturers.

"Depending on the laboratory running the test, and the method used, the autoantibody concentration measured in the same sample at the same time may vary by a factor of 10," says one of the paper's authors Alexey Orlov, a senior scientist of the Biophotonics Lab at GPI RAS and Nanobiotechnology Lab at MIPT, a 2010 graduate of MIPT. "In fact, no one could rely on autoantibody concentration as a quantitative parameter to evaluate therapy efficiency."

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Do parasites protect against SARS-CoV-2?

Do parasites protect against SARS-CoV-2?

By Dr. Liji Thomas, MDMay 19 2020

The world has rarely seen such a readily transmissible infection as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) over the last century. Within five months, the virus has created a Tsunami of COVID-19 positive cases, comprising almost 4.88 million people and causing 322,000 deaths.

However, the spread of the virus is slower than expected in Africa. A new study by researchers at Makerere University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and published on the preprint server medRxiv* in May 2020 is focused on finding any possible link between the low risk of infection and parasitic infections.

The Role of Inflammation in Severe COVID-19

The disease manifestations in COVID-19 range from asymptomatic to critically ill requiring mechanical ventilatory support. Severe COVID-19 manifests with a hyperimmune response that is marked by high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines like IL-6, IL-2, and TNF-α often termed the cytokine storm or cytokine release syndrome. High levels of IL-6 are associated with increased severity of disease in COVID-19. Some studies show that when patients with severe disease are treated with monoclonal antibodies that block the IL-6 signaling pathway, the duration of stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) is shortened, and there is an earlier resolution of disease.

Immunomodulators in Parasitic Infestation

Parasitic infestations are widespread in Africa. Many parasites live for years in their hosts, without producing significant symptoms. This is due to the interplay of immunity vs. tolerance. In other words, sterilizing immunity, or the development of an immune response strong enough to eliminate the pathogen, is rarely achieved. Still, the parasite count and distribution are kept in check, allowing the host to live a mostly healthy life.

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